Where there is a Will, is there a Way? Effects of Lay Theories of Self-Control on Setting and Keeping Resolutions
8 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2012
Date Written: March 1, 2005
We demonstrate the effect of consumers’ lay theories of self-control on goal-directed behavior as evidenced by New Year’s and other resolutions. Across three studies, we find that individuals who believe that self-control is a malleable but inherently limited (vs. unlimited) resource tend to set fewer resolutions. Using respondents’ own idiographic resolutions, this result is shown to hold in general as well as in consumption - specific domains regardless of whether lay theories are measured or manipulated. The effect is reversed if respondents contrast beliefs regarding their own levels of self-control with their lay theories. The final field experiment shows that 'limited self-control theorists' are less likely to succeed at their resolutions if they have low (vs. high) self-efficacy.
Keywords: lay theories, implicit theories, goals, resolutions, goal-setting
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